In the past few years, the world has undergone a significant change, as dealing with the challenges of the pandemic has led to a proliferation of remote and hybrid working models. More pertinently, these models are clearly here to stay, benefiting as they do both workers, who value the flexibility they offer, and companies, that now have a much wider access to talent.
One area particularly impacted by the shift to remote work is customer experience (CX), which is viewed as the new battlefield for business. This is due to the fact that the increased adoption of digital technology has also fundamentally altered the nature of customer service.
Customers are more sophisticated they can research everything on the internet and get the pricing from many online sites and therefore they have far greater expectations than in the past and you have to earn their trust and patronage by differentiating the relationship. Customers demand consistent, rapid (instant gratification) , and personalised experiences, delivered across all the different channels they choose.
It is worth noting, says Yaron Assabi, Founder and CEO of Digital Solutions Group (DSG), that a recent survey suggests that customer expectations have also changed, with some 73% of customers claiming to use multiple channels to engage with their favourite brands.
“More crucially, 80% of customers indicate they would be more loyal to a brand that offers a personalised experience, while 80% also state that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are crucial to CX,” he adds.
“Of course, while the customer expectations are of a unified and effortless experience, the reality is very different. CX in today’s digital environment can be complex, fragmented, and is often still a manual process.”
Assabi points out that the same survey notes that 70% of customer decisions were based on how they feel they were being treated and understood. Conversely, 80% of B2B salespeople suggested that customer relationships were weaker in today’s digital-first world.
“It is a clear problem when the majority of customers are making purchases based on their experiences, but the organisation’s agents are struggling to build virtual relationships. The answer is to more effectively empower your employees, which should lead to delighted customers – and delighted customers drive business growth.”
“The best way to empower your people is to focus strongly on building a company culture that has a relentless focus on the client. At the same time, management needs to ensure that employees are kept happy by enabling them to do what they need to do, through the implementation of the right technology systems.”
Ultimately, he adds, your employees’ ability to deliver an exceptional CX to customers requires powerful applications. These, in turn, need a strong platform (https://bit.ly/3XKQQJL) that can deliver actionable insights aimed at achieving a specific outcome for the customer.
“Too often, businesses find they have fragmented systems, that by their nature tend towards complexity over time. Most companies adopt an add-and-integrate approach, such as when adding solutions for specific channels like Instagram or WhatsApp, in order to meet their customers on these new digital channels. However, ‘bolting on’ solutions after the fact can easily lead to poor experiences for customers and negatively impact the productivity of employees, not to mention incurring higher costs for the business,” he explains.
“One of the best ways to improve the CX and offer staff a more effective way of getting their jobs done is by leveraging process automation. This reduces human errors, speeds up processes and makes for a more efficient CX. Of course, this approach requires customers to interact with machines in the same way as two people might interact – leading to the rise in importance of speech and voice interfaces.”
Assabi is quick to highlight that while the concept of interactive voice response (IVR) technology is a good one that can make customer interactions simpler and faster, the challenge the African continent faces – and one highlighted perfectly by SA’s own 11 official languages – is that IVR has not yet effectively adapted to local African languages. And, he questions, doesn’t a critical part of providing a great customer experience include enabling them to interact in the language of their choice?
“The good news for Africa is that – despite the obvious challenges around developing a natural language IVR solution to meet the needs of a multi-lingual country – much progress has been made to adapt IVR solutions to enable native language solutions. In fact, DSG is poised to make an announcement around this very subject in the near future.”
“The other vital technology solution to implement that can help your business to deliver an exceptional CX is that of advanced analytics. Data is considered to be the new gold, and through deep data analysis, you will be able to gain significant insights. Complaints are the best source of business intelligence. Turning insight to action and reinventing your business based on customer feedback is a winning formula. We love #DoingSomethingGreat @ DSG so we want to help grow your business by innovating the customer experience ,” concludes Assabi.